Lecture by Katell Berthelot at the seminar of the Haifa Center for Mediterranean History (University of Haifa), on the topic: “Roman domination terra marique: The Jewish reception and contestation of a Roman imperial discourse”


The Romans claimed to have established a universal empire encompassing the whole oikoumenē, and to bring peace to the world. In Latin sources, the Roman or pro-Roman claims were sometimes formulated through the expression victoria terra marique, “victory on land and sea,” as well as the idea of pax terra marique, “peace on land and sea,” advertised on coinage in particular. As Arnaldo Momigliano already noticed 76 years ago, “the formula kata gēn kai kata thalassan [on land and sea] had long been used in Greece for treaties of peace and alliance,” “Ruler over Land and Sea had been the Hellenistic definition of a sovereign,” and the expression may well have been taken over by the Romans from the Greeks. Rather than dealing again with the origins of this Greek and Latin expression used in connection with Roman power and rule, this lecture aims to examine the perception and reception of this notion among Jews living in the Roman empire. I will attempt to show that Jews could on the one hand reproduce the Roman or pro-Roman claims, and on the other hand challenge them in quite specific ways, for example concerning the issue of the control of the sea.

Event details

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 16:15 to 17:45
University of Haifa, Eshkol Tower Observatory (30th floor)